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Online Extra: Gays Across America: Data 'more crucial than ever,' report says

by Seth Hemmelgarn

MAP Executive Director Ineke Mushovic
MAP Executive Director Ineke Mushovic  

The Movement Advancement Project and SAGE have released a report meant to increase awareness of LGBT seniors' diverse needs in the U.S.

"Understanding Issues Facing Older Adults," released in May, offers a full view of seniors' experiences and challenges with issues including health care and community support.

"Data and research are more crucial than ever to identify and address the impact of discrimination and stigma in areas ranging from health care to housing to employment," the report says.

In a news release, MAP Executive Director Ineke Mushovic said, "As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, it is clear that we are woefully unprepared to provide for the needs of older LGBT adults. With substantial barriers to accessing care, compounded by lifelong discrimination and stigma, LGBT people face discrimination that make it harder to age with support and dignity. We must understand â€" and address â€" the challenges facing LGBT elders, rather than shutting them out of aging services by offering care that doesn't meet their needs."

According to MAP, there are over 2.7 million LGBT adults who are 50 or older in the country, which is almost a third of all LGBT adults. However, the group's news release notes that the Trump administration has worked to ensure that data on LGBT seniors isn't collected in the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, which is used to help determine what services will be available to seniors.

The study looks at discrimination in employment, housing, and health care; as well as social isolation and other issues. It offers several recommendations for addressing disparities, including passing comprehensive employment and housing protections that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; making sure that all housing for seniors, including nursing homes and other facilities, use "explicit nondiscrimination policies"; and update federal and state programs to recognize same-sex relationships where a partner died before same-sex marriage became legal nationally in 2015.

Michael Adams, SAGE's CEO, stated, "With uncertainty about the future of our health care system, Social Security, and other programs older adults rely on, it's especially hard to plan for the future. It is even harder for LGBT elders who face discrimination within the very systems designed to support them as they age. That's why it's crucial that LGBT elders receive legal and social recognition, culturally competent care, welcoming and affordable housing, and supportive programs. ... We have an obligation to do better."

The report is available at http://lgbtmap.org/understanding-issues-facing-LGBT-Older-Adults.

 

NBJC to launch 'PrE'P'ed for Success'

The National Black Justice Coalition has announced it will launch "PrEP'ed for Success," its national PrEP ambassadors campaign for college students, this fall semester.

The peer-led initiative will consist of students at historically black colleges and universities who've been trained to share information on PrEP with other students on their campuses and in their communities.

"This national peer-education leadership program at HBCUs will empower black youth and provide them with an opportunity to enhance their public health expertise around subject matters related to safe sexual practices and STI prevention, specifically HIV/AIDS," NBJC said in its latest newsletter.

Already this year, the group has been promoting its "PrEPing Our Future" health and wellness tour, which aims to decrease the HIV epidemic's and other health disparities' impacts at HBCUs. Stops have included schools in the District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, and Texas.

 

Gays Across America is a column addressing LGBTQ issues nationwide. It runs most Tuesdays. Please submit comments or column ideas to Seth Hemmelgarn at (415) 875-9986 or s.hemmelgarn@ebar.com

 

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